Companies around the world have been urged not to follow the example of Ferrari by a motivational speaker and former F1 mechanic.
This season has been a familiar tale for Ferrari – an impressive car, a strong start, only for the season to unravel thanks to a host of self-inflicted problems.
The Scuderia have been blighted by unreliability, driver errors, strategy fouls-ups and pit-stop mistakes, to name just a few issues. As a result, Red Bull have coasted to both titles while Mercedes, despite having had a much slower car for most of the campaign, could overtake them in the constructors’ standings in the final two races.
READ MORE: Ferrari's biggest F1 blunders in 25 years – from fuel hose disaster to forgetting tyres
Pundit and former McLaren chief mechanic Marc Priestley gives motivational talks using the experience he has collected working at the sharp end of F1. He says the culture at both Red Bull and Mercedes are perfect examples to follow while pointing out a fundamental problem of Ferrari’s approach since they last won the drivers’ title with Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.
“When I’m doing my talks around the world, I use Mercedes and Red Bull as great examples of how to build great teams,” Priestley told the In the Fast Lane podcast.
“Unfortunately, at the moment, I’m also using Ferrari as an example of how not to do it. You have to point the finger at there being something fundamental [that is wrong]. I know a lot of people who either work or have worked at Ferrari. I’ve had a real insight into what goes on there.
“I hate to be too disparaging of any team because I know people inside that team are doing their best. But you’ve got to point to the fact there must be a cultural issue there.
“They’ve had every part of the ingredients to win. OK, we’re in a budget cap now but in the past money has been an advantage. If you had the biggest budget and you spend it in the right way, you could buy success.
“They’ve had that, a huge number of people, a great factory and all the resources they need. They’ve built great cars, they’ve had the best drivers on many occasions, yet they still haven’t won.
“So what does that leave? It leaves the team environment. Something is stopping them from getting across that line.”
What do Ferrari need to do to get back to the top of F1? Have your say in the comments section below.
Priestley believes the fear of making mistakes is inhibiting Ferrari.
“I feel like the team culture at Ferrari, over many years, has been too restrictive, where people feel terrified to stick their head above the parapet and make a decision when it comes to things like race strategy,” he added. “Even beyond that, things like car design. It feels like there’s so much fear in that organisation.
“If something goes wrong because of a decision you made, it’s like the world is going to cave in on you and the fingers will be pointed. That, unfortunately, does not generate the kind of success you need.
“You have to have an organisation where everyone is trusted to do their job. If that means you make a risky decision, they’re trusted, and that is really important. If it doesn’t work out, you use it as a massive learning step.
“At Ferrari, it feels like they’re too hesitant to make those decisions. You hear it in their radio communications. They almost seem terrified to make the call on a pit-stop. You’ve got the drivers questioning the decisions because they haven’t got confidence in their own pit wall. We’ve seen enough evidence now to know what is holding them. There’s no quick fix for that, it’s a cultural issue.”
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